Life on Mars

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Hostal Millantu

Flag of Chile  ,
Saturday, September 21, 2013

San Pedro de Atacama is a very small (c.2000 inhabitants) oasis in the middle of the north Chilean desert, the world's driest desert. In itself the town is pleasant enough, if a little dusty and touristy. The whole place consists of tourist agencies running tours, hostels (which get booked up ridiculously quickly) and restaurants. This is because it serves as the gateway to some truly incredible landscapes - at times we felt like we were on the surface of the moon or even Mars, especially in the simply incredible Valle de la Luna.

We mainly explored the surroundings by hiring a red pick up truck for a few days together with Stefan, a German student, and Aussies Kim and Lissa, the lovelies we met back in La Serena.  It was great to do this ourselves rather than rely on the tour operators in town, meaning we could take things at our own pace and discover different areas not as full of other tourists. We visited lakes of flamingoes, scrambled through caves, got up at 4am to watch the sunrise over geysers and drove to high altitude lakes with crystal clear blue waters.
Sand boarding down a 120 metre dune with just us in sight for miles (probably to do with it being in the middle of the midday heat and at altitudes of more than 3000 metres) was a highlight too, though you've no idea how tiring climbing a sand dune at that height is. They don't call it Death Valley for nothing. Puff, puff, splutter.
The pictures probably explain it all best, though they don't really do it any justice!
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Mumjo on

Wow what amazing places you will never forget this. Its lovely that you are meeting up with loads of peeps such fun.
Got text today will look into flights etc but is it really OK because you might be very busy at the social enterprise. I still not sure if I can make it. Lets talk on skype when we can. Keep the blogs coming LOVE THEM xxx

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